Getting the Family and House Ready For “Back-To-School” Season

August is all about getting the family and home prepared for the upcoming school season and the new routine for the next several months. Check out these tips and ideas to start your preparation!

Kitchen
During morning and evening routines, the kitchen will be a focus point during the school year. Have a designated cabinet that is dedicated to pre-bagged snacks and Tupperware. This will make the hustle of the morning easier to manage when packing lunches if you did not pack them the night before.

Also, create a schedule of what dinner plans will be throughout the week. This will not only help you at the grocery store but also will help you plan easy dinners if you have a late soccer game on Thursday evening.

Bedroom and Closet
As kids are growing, it may seem like their clothes are shrinking. Before the summer ends, have your family go through their closet to donate clothes they do not like or clothes that no longer fit. Once you organize the potential for hand-me-downs, it is a lot easier to go school shopping when you know Billy needs new jeans and Sadie grew out of all her shoes.

Another trick to make the mornings more efficient is to create cubbies or shelves for each of your kids with the days of the week labeled on them. On Sundays, help them pick out their clothes for the week according to estimated weather and after-school plans.

Homework Space
Creating an area in the house that is quiet and full of all the school supplies that kids need for homework and projects will help with the focus of your children. Studies have shown that doing homework in bed can affect the feeling of sleeplessness in children if they are correlating stressful homework to their sleep space. Try to avoid this and make the dining room table or play room have a desk for school work to be focus upon.

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Make Your Tiny Kitchen Look Enormous

1. Eliminate Counter Clutter
With the busy lives we live, it is hard to keep everything organized in kitchen cabinets at all time. However, one thing that will create more visual space in your kitchen is a clear counter. Remove all food products, mail, and cluttered decor from your counter surface and reserve it for useful items like sugar and spices. It will appear to be a larger space when the clutter is removed.

2. Lighting
If you have the benefit of big windows near your kitchen, the natural light will help to make this living space appear bigger. If you do not have an abundance of natural light, providing adequate lighting for your kitchen is beneficial for cooking but also for create space in the room.

3. Add Hidden Storage
There are typically unused spaces in kitchen cabinet that can utilized for organizing kitchenware. Creating extra cabinet space can help to eliminate clutter on countertops.

4. Reflective Surfaces
A new trend for smaller kitchens is to add mirror fronts to kitchen cabinets or buy all stainless steel appliances. These reflective surfaces can add depth and create the illusion that the space appears larger.

5. Light Colors
Along with natural light, painting walls and cabinets light colors will brighten up the room and essentially make it look bigger. Painting walls lighter colors can also allow creativity with decoration themes being bold colors that will really stand out on the walls and countertops.

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First impression Tricks for Your Front Door

When you’re welcoming a guest into your home, one of the first things they notice is your front door. Don’t you want it to make a nice first impression of your home? Here are a few tips to help make your front door leave a lasting impression.

Coordinating Color
The color of your door is typically the first and most important factor for changing the door’s appearance. There are many dynamics that can impact your color decision. For instance, what color are the shutters and house? What direction is the door facing? Do you want a neutral or bold color? These are all questions to start asking when deciding the color for your home entrance.

Personalizing Décor
Simple wreaths are common on doors, welcome signs, or the home address number. These are all fun do-it-yourself projects that really personalize your front door to create a welcoming persona. Changing up the decorations according to the season or upcoming holiday can show care for your home since there is continuously upkeep to the home environment.

Selecting Hardware
Doorknob selection can be an overlooked selection for some front doors. First priority, purchasing a secure lock for your home. Second, determine your decorative style and how you flaunt that within your home. Do you like a vintage appearance or do you prefer the modern and clean look that has clear cut lines? Whatever your preference may be, there are more options than expected when it comes to searching for the perfect doorknob.

Welcome Mat
This functional detail can add more personality to your home entrance. This addition to your front door could be a clean design or a quirky saying to make your guests smile. It also doesn’t hurt to give a reminder to wipe their feet before entering your beautiful home.

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Maximize the Sun Rays in Your Home

Lighting for a home goes beyond simply the illumination of a room. Designing a home around maximum sunlight exposure allows you to harness the power of the sun to warm and light the rooms of your home as you desire. This not only creates beauty in design that you want but also minimizes your carbon footprint, since you’re tapping into a renewable energy supply to help with interior climate control. Here are some ideas on how you can do this effectively.

Mirrors
Place a mirror on a wall adjacent to a window or opposite a window. This will make your space feel bigger. If the space has a view and you put a mirror on the wall opposite that window you will double the light and double the view.

Let the Light in
Avoid heavy, light-blocking window treatments. Opt instead for translucent shades that provide privacy while allowing light into the space. This will even give a soft glow to the shade and bounce light into the wall directly adjacent to the shaded window.When designing your home, we also suggest that you optimize opportunities to add windows and skylights. These options will give you more natural sunlight to warm the room and provide illumination.

Carefully Choose Your Curtains
Curtains are a powerful tool that can help with the lighting of a home. They change the entire function of a window, beyond providing an outdoor view, by controlling the amount of sunlight that is allowed to penetrate into a given area.

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Spring Cleaning for Your Kitchen

Cluttered cabinets, a dusty refrigerator top, and an oven that smokes every time you bake are not the components of an ideal kitchen. The kitchen is often one of the most-used living areas in a family’s home and kitchen cabinets can quickly become coated in a layer of grease, dirt and grime from constant use and cooking. We think that these three things are crucial to the spring cleaning process, so don’t overlook them this year!

1. Dust and Wash the Walls
Anytime you cook, open the window, or spray cooking oil on a pan, particles adhere to your walls and create a thin, mostly invisible but greasy layer of dirt and dust. To counter this silent but dirty phenomenon, it’s time to wash your walls using your favorite products, or simply clean with a hot, sudsy sponge and cool water rinse to remove grease in the kitchen. Rooms with flat paints require less vigorous cleaning methods. To avoid wearing down the paint: use a damp clean cloth or a moistened-with-water only soft sponge to clean flat-painted walls.

2. Spruce Up Your Curtains and Blinds
Over the course of the year, dust, dirt, grease, and grime can build up on your curtains, drapes, and blinds. To remedy thus, take them down to spray them down! Curtains and drapes should be vacuumed with a special attachment, put into the washing machine with cold water so they don’t shrink, or taken to the dry cleaners. To clean your blinds, take them outside and soak them in hot water with automatic dishwashing detergent with some Pinesol to rub away grease.

3. Clean Out Drawers and Kitchen Cabinets
Over the year, your drawers and cabinets go from an organized space to crazy and chaotic. It’s time to take out anything that isn’t being used on a regular basis, organize your flatware, and consider installing drawer and cabinet dividers to keep your kitchen more organized. Once everything is taken out, scrub down the insides of your drawers and cabinets with a mixture of grease cutting detergent and warm water, and the outsides with vinegar and water to remove the sticky film. Finish by rinsing both areas with plain water to remove soap residue.

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New Year, New Home: 3 Renovation Tips for the New Year

Congratulations on getting to 2016!

You’ve already set goals for yourself in the form of New Year’s Resolutions, but have you set new goals for your home? Transform your space into a beautiful and efficient place to live this year. If you spend a lot of time in your home, continual upgrades to the space are essential. As you make a better you, make a better home!

The following are considerations you should take while making renovations in the new year:

1. Know Your Budget and Stick To It
After all of the holiday chaos, you might be a little short on change. But what about all of your dreams of home improvement? Not to fear! Regardless of whether or not you’ve been affected by holiday spending, you should strategically plan how much your project is going to cost you. Lay out each piece to the project and the corresponding price estimates.

2. Keep Lines of Communication Open With Your Contractor
When you hire a contractor for your project, you are placing a certain level of trust on that person. They are ultimately responsible for how your project will turn out. If you already have the pieces of your project laid out from when you budgeted, it should be relative easy to explain the vision you have to your contractor. Be flexible with your contractor and let them develop a solution that meets your vision and expectations.

3. Look at Other Projects for Inspiration
Do you know exactly how you want your finished project to look? Sometimes it’s challenging to find modern styles and trends that closely match your taste. Reference projects from magazines or from the Internet when explaining your vision to your contractor. He or she should have concrete examples to go off of, since they are unable to see your mental picture of the project.

Are you tackling home renovations this year? If so, which rooms will you give makeovers to? Share your renovation stories on our Facebook!

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4 Tips for Keeping Your Home Secure During the Holiday Season

For most of us, the holiday season is a time to be merry. It is a time for decorations, shopping, parties, and fun! During this time we smile a little more, love a little more, and give a little more. It is important to keep in mind, however, that thieves view the holiday season as an increased opportunity to take and steal.
Whether you are staying home this year or visiting family, we want you, your family and your home to be safe. Please consider the following safety tips as we enter the heart of the holiday season.

1. Make sure gifts aren’t visible from the street.
You will probably try to keep gifts out of sight from children, but you should also make sure gifts are hidden from public view. If a criminal can see what is in your home, it’s likely they will try to rob you. Try to keep your Christmas tree or Menorah away from windows and other places with an outside view.

2. Keep your travel plans offline.
If you are planning to travel during the holiday season, be sure to keep your travel plans off your social media networks. Publicizing the location or duration of your trip on social media lets thieves know when no one will be home. Even if you have the highest-level of privacy on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, posting personal information is never recommended.

3. Use holiday lights safely.
Put your outdoor holiday lights on an automatic timer to keep thieves from learning your daily routine. We also suggest you put your indoor lights on an automatic timer if you are vacationing for the holidays. Do not run extension cords through windows because it means that windows will not completely close.

4. Notify a trusted friend or family member.
If you are going out of town, get someone you trust to check on your house, pick up your mail and newspapers, and keep your walks cleared of snow. Nothing tells a thief you are not home like a week’s worth of newspapers on your driveway or un-shoveled snow on your sidewalk.

How are you getting your home holiday ready? Message us on Facebook!

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